MagBak Now Turns Your iPhone 6 Into A Fancy Magnet

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MagBak, the company that makes what it claims is the world’s thinnest mount for the iPad, has now turned its attention to the iPhone 6. The MagBak Case has far surpassed its $15,000 goal on Kickstarter with about $130,000 raised and nine days left to go in its campaign.

The MagBak for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, which starts at $39 and is scheduled to ship next month, has two parts: a case made from layers of microfiber, polycarbonate, and silicone embedded with magnets, and thin aluminum sticks that adhere to surfaces with a 3M adhesive strip.

Like the MagBak for iPad, the MagBak Case is a very simple but elegant and unobtrusive alternative to other mounts for the iPhone, which usually require you to install a bulky holder. The case’s magnets are arranged so that your iPhone automatically aligns to its aluminum mount (or another magnetic surface) in portrait or landscape mode

I’ve enjoyed using a MagBak on my iPad Air, which I often stick on my fridge to look at recipes or watch shows while doing chores. The silicone surface is also very comfortable to grip, though a drawback is that some of my MagBak’s magnets have escaped from underneath its edges. This looks like it will be less of a problem on the MagBak Case, however, since it enwraps the entire iPhone and has more layers than the iPad version.

For people who might be leery of carrying an iPhone wrapped with magnets next to their credit cards, MagBak founder Alex Baca says that he’s tested the case to make sure it won’t damage your plastic.

“To be able to affect the magnetic strip on a credit card, a much stronger magnet concentrated in a smaller surface area would be needed. The magnets embedded in the MagBak Case are spread out and isolated by a layer of silicone. This layer of silicone is designed to keep the magnets isolated/distant when in contact with non-metal objects, but to compress when in contact with metal surfaces or other magnets for more secure mounting,” he explains.

MagBak is also working on a version of its case for iPhone 5 and 5s. For more details about the project, check out its Kickstarter page.

Indian Payments Startup MobiKwik Nabs $25M From Tree Line, Cisco, AmEx And Sequoia

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The rise of e-commerce in India has triggered a wave of startups that are leveraging the increasing adoption of smartphones to provide mobile payment solutions. Alibaba invested in Paytm at an apparent billion dollar valuation earlier this year, and nowMobiKwik is the latest to be flushed with new cash.

New Delhi-based MobiKwik has pulled $25 million in funding, led by Singapore-based hedge fund Tree Line Asia. The deal included participation from a couple of interesting strategic investors — Cisco and American Express.

Existing investor Sequoia Capital was also in the heavy-hitting Series B round. MobiKwik raised a $5 million Series A in 2013, and it is targeting a $100 million Series C which it aims to complete in the second half of this year.

Rival Paytm claims 25 million registered users, but its service covers e-commerce as well as a payments wallet and mobile recharge services. MobiKwik currently claims “over 15 million” registered users for its payment wallet, but it is ambitiously shooting to raise that figure to 100 million by the end of next year.

With credit card penetration in India low — not to mention the rate of bank account usage also small — mobile wallets are emerging as a way to handle payments with more complexity than cash-on-delivery and a more engaging model than bank accounts, which can be challenging for those in rural locations.

MobiKwik is betting that a network of physical retail points will help push its digital service to more people. It claimed to have a national network of more than 100,000 merchants, through whom customers can load money into their wallet and also make payment in person. That’s important because, as we seem to point out every day, although India’s smartphone adoption is growing, it is still nascent. That makes offline an important component for any digital service.

Beyond helping on the payment side, MobiKwik said it has (followed Paytm) and applied for a payment banking permit. It plans to “disrupt the delivery of financial services in India by using mobile technology to reach people that the existing banking networks have been unable to reach.”

As I wrote back when Paytm added support for payments to bank accounts, online payment services are increasingly overlapping with services offered by traditional banks and telecom operators’ mobile banking initiatives. It will be interesting to see what MobiKwik has planned.

In particular, adding reputed industry players Cisco and American Express will not harm its chances of moving beyond merely facilitating payments.

“We are delighted to have American Express and Cisco on board. We intend to leverage their strong understanding of financial transactions, user behavior and bleeding edge technology to make MobiKwik the most trusted way to pay in India,” MobiKwik founder and CEO Bipin Preet Singh said in a statement.